CHPN: Richmond’s worst year?

by | Aug 16, 2010 | POLITICS

Great article from the Chuch Hill’s People News:

Richmond bottomed out in 1994: one city councilman went off to rehab for his heroin problem and another was in hot water for not paying utilities and renting out condemned property, enrollment at VCU dropped, the city recorded the nation’s 19th largest population decline since 1980, Richmond made the wrong end of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live list, and by the end of the year had tallied a record 161 homicides. With recent years showing the lowest body counts since 1961, the city’s population back up over 200,000, and VCU having greatly expanded, it is somewhat difficult to imagine that mid-1990s Richmond was ever real.

That year’s spike in killings did not arrive suddenly. Richmond’s body count had topped out over 100 for the previous 6 years and the city had already earned a dangerous reputation by the mid-1980s (if not earlier). The Briley Brothers’ 1979 killing spree and 1984 escape from death row were in recent enough history. Southside’s Johnson/Brown gang, estimated to be responsible for 30 lives over 3 years, were only recently off the streets. The leaders of the notorious Newtowne gang were locked up in 1992 after killing 13 people in “a furious month and a half”.

Curious about and fascinated by Richmond’s shockingly violent semi-recent history, I thought to look and see where all of this killing was taking place. It seems that to be able to say that certain areas once had these incidents but do not any longer would be a useful way of marking the changes in the city. Unfortunately, the Richmond Police are not able to easily provide data for the years before 1998, so to get a look at anything earlier I had to dig it up for myself. Given the time involved, I chose to pull the info only for 1994, which to get I had to dig through the year’s worth of the RTD at the Library of Virginia.

This work identified 158 homicides (PDF) – not a perfect data set, but close enough to have a sense of what was going on where in 1994. Because the information was pulled from news accounts, some of the dates and locations might be somewhat off, but are generally accurate.

CLICK HERE TO READ RICHMOND’S WORST YEAR

Great article from the Chuch Hill’s People News:

Richmond bottomed out in 1994: one city councilman went off to rehab for his heroin problem and another was in hot water for not paying utilities and renting out condemned property, enrollment at VCU dropped, the city recorded the nation’s 19th largest population decline since 1980, Richmond made the wrong end of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live list, and by the end of the year had tallied a record 161 homicides. With recent years showing the lowest body counts since 1961, the city’s population back up over 200,000, and VCU having greatly expanded, it is somewhat difficult to imagine that mid-1990s Richmond was ever real.

That year’s spike in killings did not arrive suddenly. Richmond’s body count had topped out over 100 for the previous 6 years and the city had already earned a dangerous reputation by the mid-1980s (if not earlier). The Briley Brothers’ 1979 killing spree and 1984 escape from death row were in recent enough history. Southside’s Johnson/Brown gang, estimated to be responsible for 30 lives over 3 years, were only recently off the streets. The leaders of the notorious Newtowne gang were locked up in 1992 after killing 13 people in “a furious month and a half”.

Curious about and fascinated by Richmond’s shockingly violent semi-recent history, I thought to look and see where all of this killing was taking place. It seems that to be able to say that certain areas once had these incidents but do not any longer would be a useful way of marking the changes in the city. Unfortunately, the Richmond Police are not able to easily provide data for the years before 1998, so to get a look at anything earlier I had to dig it up for myself. Given the time involved, I chose to pull the info only for 1994, which to get I had to dig through the year’s worth of the RTD at the Library of Virginia.

This work identified 158 homicides (PDF) – not a perfect data set, but close enough to have a sense of what was going on where in 1994. Because the information was pulled from news accounts, some of the dates and locations might be somewhat off, but are generally accurate.

CLICK HERE TO READ RICHMOND’S WORST YEAR

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me




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